Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Start Of Season Test Flight (A Pilot’s MOT)

A hot air balloon is a registered aircraft in exactly the same way as a commercial airliner, fixed-wing plane or helicopter – as a result, you must have a pilot’s licence to legally fly a balloon. In the UK, we have currently have two types of licence for balloons – a Private Pilot’s Licence which allows you to fly a balloon as long as it’s not for hire or reward (i.e. just a pleasure flight with friends on a sunny evening) and a Commercial Pilot’s Licence which does allow you to fly for hire and reward and earn money from flying.

Holder’s of a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, however, and rightly so, have to undergo a test flight with a Civil Aviation Authority appointed examiner every year to ensure continued competency to the required high level of flying. I hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, and therefore, have to undertake a test flight at the start of every season. A flight I make with my local examiner, and balloon inspector,  Chris Dunkley.

Flying from Folly Dog Leg, a launch site I use near Hungerford when the wind has a large Southerly component, we flew for 50 minutes – tracking north up the A338. Having flown over the M4 motorway at junction 14, made the required practice approaches and run through an emergency drill I landed on a triangle of grass, next to a young wheat field, just behind The Pheasant pub.

With the balloon packed away we retired to the pub to complete the necessary paperwork. We may not have travelled far, but for another year I’m ‘signed-off’ to once again fly commercial should I wish. Let’s hope it’s a good season…

Folly Dog Leg March 2012 Track
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Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton First Edition

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